Monday, 13 September 2010


Among the Coalition parties a debate about pacts is developing, encouraged by Nick Boles new book.  The Lib Dems are distinctly cool on the idea (a probably sign of the level of grassroots discomfort with the Coalition deal) while Tories are more open.  The opponents to the idea should perhaps be digging out Cameron's rejection of apcts on principle that he made here.

My instincts are that Tim Montgomerie has the advice right for the government.  It has a significant task and getting on with it should be the focus and the prospects of re-election left to the success or otherwise of that package of reforms.  This would fit with the Swedish experience.  Although as the Independent points out it could involve a reversal of economic fortunes in the short-term:

"the public will only support this idea if the results are both prompt and beneficial. If the savage wielding of the surgeon's knife delivers a rapid recovery to the nation's finances, Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne will have pulled off their bold gamble. But if deep cuts have the same results in Britain that they appear to have had in Ireland, pushing the country deeper into recession, support for Mr Osborne's policies will collapse. "

As to Boles idea of concluding a pact sooner rather than later this is probably a recipe for greater instability rather than less.  It would bring Lib Dem internal tensions to a head very quickly.  The Coalition deal and the political difficulties it will face makes a schism in the Lib Dems a distinct possibility.  This is the political plan B that the Coalition should be considering.

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